There are visible signs of low self-esteem in some people. In some cases, insecurity affects people’s relationships, demeanor and life quite obviously. However, signs of low self-esteem may be unrecognizable to some people. What are the signs of negative self-esteem that we may be ignoring in ourselves? We’ll be enumerating that, along with some tips on how to fix low self-esteem.
Signs of Low Self Esteem
1. You’ve Made a Sport out of “Analyzing” Other People’s Reactions
Do you often find yourself trying to analyze whether someone likes you or not? Everyone probably does, from time to time, but people with low self-esteem do it so much that it affects their day to day lives. They question their every move, trying to justify it to people who most likely didn’t even notice.
It’s very difficult for people with low self-esteem to let things go. They will play and replay situations in their head, looking for possible motivations behind every word. If this is your brand of overthinking, chances are your self-esteem could use some boosting.
2. You Feel Like You Sabotage Your Relationships
A fear of intimacy is something common among people with low self-esteem. Psychologists Mary Ainsworth and John Bowlby founded the Attachment Theory in the 1960s. According to their studies, the kind of relationship that we had with our caregivers during our formative years plays a huge role in how we relate to others in adulthood. Psychologists identified four major attachment styles in adults:
- Secure – People with secure attachment style have positive views of themselves and others. As such, they often enjoy warm, trusting and satisfying relationships. They are not afraid to trust. They’re also comfortable to express love and receive it.
- Anxious-Preoccupied – People with anxious-preoccupied attachment style are often afraid that they might be giving more than what they’re receiving. They analyze other people’s behaviors for signs of abandonment. People with this attachment style require a high level of security in their relationships — so much that they depend on their attachment figures for validation. Whenever they feel like the attachment figure has failed to provide them with the level of intimacy that they desire, they often lash out through destructive protest behaviors.
- Dismissive-Avoidant – People with dismissive avoidant attachment style often feel a deep urge to disappear at the first sign of emotional closeness and intimacy. They find it impossible to trust people due to a deep-seated fear of abandonment. Being vulnerable and allowing someone else access to your thoughts and feelings are important parts of being in a relationship, so avoidants try to convince themselves that they actually don’t need close relationships with other people.
- Fearful-Avoidant – People with fearful-avoidant attachment style exhibit a combination of both preoccupied and avoidant traits. They want to be in warm, dependable relationships. However, they distrust others. Deep in their hearts, fearful-avoidants believe that they do not deserve love and attention.
If you recognize yourself in one of the three insecure attachment styles, that’s one of the signs of low self-esteem.
3. You Silence Yourself
Have you ever overextended yourself in an effort to keep everybody happy and satisfied, even at the cost of your own wellbeing? In group settings, have you ever found yourself feeling bad just because you agreed with an opinion that ultimately doesn’t correspond to your personal views? Are you deathly afraid of offending anyone that you just opt to stay quiet all the time? If you answered yes to all these questions, you exhibit one of the major signs of low self-esteem.
4. You Define Yourself by What You Own
There’s nothing wrong with being proud of what you have achieved, or being occasionally sad over goals that haven’t been met. However, dwelling on these things may be an indication of low self-confidence. Ask yourself: why do you buy the things that you buy? Do you truly really need them, or do you buy them to impress other people? Do you often find yourself obsessing over one cool item everybody already has but you don’t have? Have you ever experienced financial hardships brought about by the desire to fit in or maintain an image?
5. You Have an Unhealthy Relationship With Social Media
Social media bridges the physical distance between us and the people that we care about. At least, that was the original plan. Nowadays, social media has become a place where people are compelled to present their lives in the most flattering way possible. It impacts everyone’s general outlook, but one of the biggest signs of low self-esteem is a dependence on social media reactions. If you can only perceive and enjoy an experience in terms of how many likes, hearts, or retweet it gets, it might be time to re-assess your priorities.
6. You Lie or Make up Stories
Sometimes, we’re forced to tell small lies to keep the peace. Other times, we do it so as not to hurt others. These instances are understandable. However, if you have lied or made up stories to make yourself seem like someone you’re actually not, you might be suffering from low self-esteem.
7. Compliments Weird You Out
What do you say when someone compliments you? Do you believe compliments? Do you accept compliments and say thank you? People who are secure about their identities may feel shy about compliments every once in a while, but ultimately, they feel grateful and appreciative.
Are you suspicious of compliments? Do you find ways to dissuade people who say nice things about you? Not knowing how to receive compliments is one of the uncommon signs of low self-esteem.
Things You Should Do To Counter Low Self- Esteem
1. Acknowledge it
The first step to overcoming low self-esteem is to acknowledge it. It’s important to understand the negative reactions that come from certain trains of thought, to acknowledge it, and let it go.
2. Recognize its Effects
How does it affect your thinking? In which ways does it distort your reality? Insecurity is stressful, as it constantly puts you on defense against other people. It makes trusting other people a lot harder and the process of loving others become more complicated than it should be.
It causes an unnecessary strain on your mind. Stress can manifest in the form of physical symptoms as well.
3. Observe How You Talk to Yourself
If you suffer from low self-esteem, you’re probably used to having negative self-talk. Just think: if a loved one was feeling bad or down in the dumps, would you tell them the things you tell yourself when you’re down?
Start thinking of yourself as someone you really care for and start talking to yourself accordingly. It might be tricky at first, but with more practice and other self-improvement techniques, you’ll eventually manage!
4. Go Offline From Time to Time
Social media can be a bit difficult to traverse, especially for people who are on a journey towards loving themselves. It’s important to achieve balance in our usage of social media. You can begin by designating a few hours every week to disconnect from social media and reconnect to things that can add to your joy: doing something you love or spending time with someone you care about. You can gradually increase the time as you go.
5. Begin a Meditation Routine
Meditation is another simple activity you could take towards self-love. It will allow you to clear your mind and refocus. A lot of people assume that meditation is hard, and requires a lot of discipline. It doesn’t! In fact, it’s the other way around: practicing meditation helps develop the discipline that translates to other parts of your life. As a beginner, all you really need is the time of day and a few other simple tips.
6. Start a Gratitude Journal
When the going gets tough, it can be hard to remember the good things in life. A gratitude journal is something you can hold on to when the self-deprecating thoughts and cycles get a bit harder to control. Every day, jot down a thing or two that you’re thankful for. It could be something as simple as a nice weather, or a nice line from a book you’re reading.
Your gratitude journal serves as a memento of the good times, but it helps in a more subtle way: it helps you cultivate a positive outlook on things. It’s important to treat self-love and optimism as an ongoing, daily process.
7. Don’t Hesitate to Ask for Help If Needed
Signs of low self-esteem might point to a more serious problem. If you feel like low self-esteem is negatively impacting your way of life, don’t hesitate to go to a professional for help.
If you have been struggling with self-esteem issues, you need to watch this video by Girls for Change founder Niko Everett:
Loving ourselves is a continuous journey. There will always be things that we don’t like about ourselves. The key is to know and understand that flaws and all, we are worth loving. We deserve good things. Most importantly, we deserve to be happy.
Is there any other uncommon sign of low self-esteem you think we missed? Share it with us in the comments section below.